God always has a plan for what He does. He has a plan for what He allows, too. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, everything was perfect. No sin, no sickness, no death, no financial worries, nothing. And God could have kept the forbidden fruit out of the garden, making it impossible for them to sin. Yet He planted that tree and allowed them to eat of it, knowing that death would follow.
Why? Because God has a greater plan. It’s easy for us to say that it’s cruel for Him to allow us to die and go to Hell when He could have prevented it, but we have no right to judge Him. We have no right to argue against what He does to or for us. As Creator, it’s His right to do with His creation whatever He wants, much like you have the right to cook a seven-course meal and throw it in a dumpster.
God’s plan, though, is better than throwing us away and He’s not arbitrary. We’re judged by our hearts. Do we accept Him as our Lord and Savior? That’s what He’ll look at when He judges us. And for those who do accept Him, there’s an eternal reward in Heaven.
And that’s the point: Eden wasn’t close enough for God. Adam as His son wasn’t a strong enough bond. The garden was perfect in what it was, but not good enough for us in His eyes. He wanted something better. Eden had plants and animals that needed tending; Heaven has streets of gold. In Eden, God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day; in Heaven, we have eternal access to His unfiltered presence. In Eden, Adam was God’s son and Eve His daughter; in Heaven, we are His children and the bride of Christ.
The Bible is full of stories of people who walk away from God. He punishes some, but redeems all who return to Him. More than that, the Bible is the story of humanity itself, running after its idols – whether stone and wood or subtler versions like sex and power – and His never-ending love for us.
I find it very interesting that Jesus didn’t come to earth to conquer it and be our eternal High Priest and King on earth. He could have. He has the power and the right. Instead, He came as a sacrificial lamb, humbly going to His death for us to satisfy God’s justice.
God is omniscient, so He knew that we would walk away from Him before He created us. Adam and Eve didn’t surprise Him, neither have you with any of your actions. He knew…and in knowing this, He knew that His justice and holiness would demand a terrible price to pay for these rebellions: death and separation from Him. Yet His love is so great that He was willing to not only promise us something better than what we’d thrown away, but pay the price for that promise.